Eternally Formal in a B.O Ridden Waiting Room

Thursday was the day I had to go to The Job Centre to confirm my claim for universal credit (oh the joy). I was dreading this little visit. Thursday was a hugely busy day and this was my least preferred part.

The location – Parking and walking through a down trodden part of Bradford was not my idea of a good time to start off with. The Job Centre is located on Manningham Lane; for those of you who don’t know this part of Bradford I strongly suggest you don’t take a trip there unless necessary. Everything looks scruffy, filthy and well past its best. It’s like the sun got sucked out of the sky and your soul is slowly being consumed by a black hole that waits and feeds on all glimmers of possibility. I’m so very glad that I had care for Delilah on Thursday, I will aim never to take my child to this soul destroying place.

I’ve only ever been to The Job Centre once before. I felt exactly the same the first time, this being four year ago when I found myself redundant for the first time round. I had dressed as I would for an interview, but most people in the vicinity looked as though they had rolled out of bed and not showered for at least three weeks. People wearing tracky bottoms, looking like they had taken a dump in their slacks and carried on regardless – the smell from some would confirm this to be true. The gentleman who decided to take the seat behind me (we were practically back to back) had an odour so strong I had to strategically place the back of my hand under my nose and over my mouth so as not to breathe in the stench. The rancid smell of body odour was the thing I remember the most from the last time I had to make the visit. The thing of nightmares.

“Stay positive” I kept telling myself “It will be over soon – you’ll have a job by next week” My pep talks got me through the wait as did the thought of the two interviews I would sit that very day. I was feeling decidedly overdressed at the start, but convinced myself that I would never turn up to any interview in anything less that formal business attire and this should not be any different, even though the rest of ‘the Job Centre Crew Massive’ looked like death warmed up. Even the email concerning the time of my ‘appointment’ called it an interview. First impressions are important after all!

I was utterly determined they would not treat like a twirp, and went in ready to fight back and burry the potential insultee with words. The last time I was there I was told I was over qualified so they couldn’t help me. Let me clarify that I was out of work for a grand total of two weeks, and the claim I put in (just in case) for job seekers allowance was rejected because ‘I hadn’t contributed enough national insurance’. This was an absolute joke of a comeback as I have been working and paying national insurance since I was 16. I know people walking straight out of school at 16 claiming everything and anything they could, but I couldn’t even claim JSA regardless of working my entire workable life. Anyway back to Thursday, I was finally called forward (ten minutes later than my stated interview time) and the woman who I sat with was lovely. She didn’t talk down to me which was my major concern and led me through what would happen after going over the obligatory security details.

As we were sat discussing the bits we need to, there was rather a large hoo-ha outside the neglected building we exist in. As in noise, plus police sirens. Well that was comforting – at least there was police sirens. The woman turned to her co-worker and said “wonder what drama we’ve got today?” I’m sat there thinking that that statement means it happens on the regular and I would rather be almost anywhere else but here. She swiftly bid me farewell after that exchange and I cautiously left the building feeling pretty relieved that this particular interview, in this particular place was over.

Walking back to the car, I had no desire every to step in that hole again. As I drove off of Manningham Lane, the darkness lifted and the sun peeped through the grey clouds. The sun was magnificent, all ready for my interviews that afternoon and evening.

Job interview #1. Yes, this was just outside central Leeds. I’d planned where I would park, drove there with plenty of time to spare. The car park I had planned to park in was rammed. There was no way in hell I was getting in there. So I Google mapped it to the nearest car park. I ended up in Leeds city centre. Which while driving, is my idea of hell. I am far too impatient and full of road rage to deal with a city centre I just don’t know – most especially on my way to an interview. I spotted an on street parking spot, abandoned the car and threw money in the machine.

I set of walking. This idiot had only parked a 25 minute walk away from where I was interviewing. Would have been okay, but my little detour into the city had cost me time. I had 17 minutes to walk a 25 minute walk. I called and let the appropriate parties know, but I hate being late and having to follow Google maps on foot is stressful. The clock in the top right hand corner of your phone screen getting ever closer to the time you are supposed to be there, the map counting down clearly outside the time scale you should be working to. The walk was allllll up hill, and I’m not even talking a little hill. I’m talking like a really steep hill. The kind you would cycle up if you were in training for The Tour De Yorkshire. Realistically I should have grabbed an Uber to my location to save me the stress, and by the time I got there I felt like I had lost 90% of my bodily fluids. I never sweat, I sparkle. I had a very sparkly face. I was completely blessed that I had thrown flip flops in my bag as well as wearing heels. Flip flops were my saving grace at this point.

Got to the entrance of the building I had been told to go in. There was only a bunch of construction stuff going on right outside it. I couldn’t use that door. I walked back on myself to the last door I saw, threw on my heels and started to wander the corridors of a huge, huge building. I was so in the wrong place. I talked to some guy behind a desk who looked at me as though I had just landed my spaceship on his cat, but he managed to get a hold of the lady who was interviewing me even though it seemed like I was in the entirely wrong place. Once in the company of the interviewer things looked a little brighter.

SO as you can tell, this particular part of Thursday was highly eventful, and it all happened before 1pm. I was so very pleased to get home to Delilah. I missed her the entire morning I was gone. It felt like forever being so away from her. The latter half of the day went swimmingly with no mishaps or parking errors getting to the second interview. Here’s to next week when I should know how it all went in their opinions.

XOXO, L

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Sandy Toes

After a leisurely morning we took a trip out to Formby just by Southport.

Man and I went once the year we met, but it’s the first time we’ve been back. It’s such a beautiful place, I’d be happy to live on the door step of Formby. The houses are beautiful, the type that are huge with double garages and a gated driveway. Probably well out of our price range (for the moment). Anyone wants to give us a house there, we wouldn’t say no!

The beach is hidden away by a woods and sand dunes, so it’s a fair walk. With pram and bubs it’s a killer walk, especially in flip flops on the soft sand. Dela wasn’t overly sure of sand when man put her straight in it, but a few moments of sand discovery late she loved it. Touching, patting it, crawling it and putting it in daddy’s shoes.

Our day in pictures

We had a down pour as we walked back to the car. Under the tiniest umbrella we didn’t get too wet, Dela of course was okay under her rainhood on the pram.

Happy, sunny, sandy Sunday.

Xoxo, L

A Flicker of A Sweet Memory

It’s funny what you remember when you miss someone.

My Nana passed away sometime ago, while I was still at university studying (fat lot of good that venture did, but that’s another story). My dad’s mum, my nana was a larger than life character. Mum of boys, larger drinker, lipstick wearer and experimental cook. I knew I got my attitiute for cooking from someone, and I’m so giving my nana some of the credit.

I can’t even tell you what made my mind wonder to her sausages and flying saucer eggs today, but I found myself laughing as I remember dinner times at her flat. It was a smokey affair, she chain smoked when she chatted but because she had the window open as she did it, of course it wasn’t that bad (we would cringe now). Anyway, I digress. She owned a George Forman Grilling Machine. Or, in her words “George Formby Grilling Machine” she loved the thing, and it got used a hell of a lot.

My brother and I were always fussy with what we ate at nanas house, mainly as the older she got the more interesting the combinations became and the more the food tasted like smoke. She was however, a fabulous cook in her hay day. We ended up having chip pan chips, homemade of course or pancakes, finished off with crisps, chocolate and yogurt. All healthy stuff! My dad was subjected to actual real dinner, and this particular night was rather spectacular. I remember her wafting through the living room with dad’s plate in hand before plonking it down on the table. On the blue and white crockery was a breakfast for dinner. A staple of her household and very much enjoyed.

On dad’s plate there was a fried egg (sunnyside up), tomato, beans, bacon and what looked like two burgers. My dad stabbed one the burgers and held it in the air asking what it was. My nana asked him what the hell he was playing at waving that sausage about. We were hysterical, well all apart from my nana who was completely confused about the laughing. Dad asked why it was so flat, so she demonstrated her Formby Grilling skills in the air at the table.

She’d only gone and put butchers style (the really chunky, fat kind) sausages in the grill and squashed it down until the machine cliped shut. She returned to the kitchen to put her own meal together.

In the meantime there was the fried egg. Same meal, same day. Dad struggled to cut the white of the fried egg so picked it up to see what was going on. Turns out this egg had been fried to with an inch of it’s edible life. It stayed perfectly flat as he picked it up. He starts making his idea of UFO noises as the yolk balances on it’s white plate like shelf with a slight yellow wobble. Again, both me and my brother fell about laughing while dad tried to put back on a straight face as nana came to the table with her own dinner.

I still remember the smell of her pressed powder, the shade of her lipstick, her choice in skirts and how she always wore a pinny over them. Her kindness and patience. Her spoiling us and caving to our every request for sweets as children. I remember having to watch the snooker when it was on because she loved it but then she’d let us watch the Simpsons over dinner time and let us sit of the sofa instead of at the table with our food. I miss her, her accidental funny anecdotes and the liverpudlian twang that still remained from her younger years in her voice. The raspy cough and the way she would order herself two halfs of larger instead of a pint just because it wasn’t lady like to order a pint (but it was okay to sit with two drinks).

I miss her – photo from my 18th birthday meal. A day of mixed emotions, I lost a dear friend that exact day.

What sweet memories do you hold of a missed love one? I’d love to hear a story or two.

Xoxo, L

Conflicting Wedding Ideas; A Mental Mess

Delilah and I watched the royal wedding today. I am now sat trawling through websites of dream wedding venues in West Yorkshire. I must say, there are some rather beautiful ones.

Meghan, now the Dutchess of Sussex, looked stunning. The veil was impeccable and the tiara dazzled. Now the dress, it was beautiful and undeniably suited her but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I was half expecting a touch of Hollywood in the dress, and there was none. Now this ain’t a bad thing. Not in the slightest. Her beauty shone through as it should, and where there is beauty (and lets face it, the woman is flawless) simplicity should frame it. Which is exactly what our new Dutchess acheived with her simply and impeccably cut dress.

It means now that simple clean lines and minimum fuss will be the new challenge for bridal wear designers. She is, for sure an influencer so be prepared for the world’s brides to be to go simplicity all the way for the foreseeable future.

The newly weds looked blissfully happy, and I personal hope that they had the most amazing day. I truly hope they will be the happiest! Happy wedding day Harry and Meghan! Picture found online.

I’m excited to start planning my own wedding too now. I could say I’ve had dreams about my wedding day since I was a little girl, but that would be a BIG FAT LIE. I do adore wedding fashion, I could watch “say yes to the dress” on repeat. Weddings in general have never been at the forefront of my mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to get married, but I’ve never been the girl to day dream about it, until now. Good God, I’d resigned myself to being a crazy cat lady a fair few years ago. After a couple of dating disasters, a life of solitude, talking to felines, writing and the occasional family outing (with those who still knew I existed) didn’t seem all that bad. ‘One last date’ changed it all, because I met man. It was a good job I did because that was me pretty much throwing in the towel, but any which way that ruled out the life of solitude. I still frequently talk to the cats, and just to clear things up, I only had two cats until man moved in and he wanted one too. Only problem with cat number three (commonly known as Dinah in our house) is that she dosent like anyone but me. She’s the most fierce little kitty and I often find her facing of with the dog, and when I say facing off I mean cornering him and attacking him. The dog is very much more of a pussy than she it. For me she is the sweetest, she twitters away and purrs wildly. Just for me.

Now my head is full of dress, venue and style ideas. I will keep my wedding mind vomit to myself because I really don’t know when we will be able to get married. I value owning a home more than a bit of paper saying that we’re shackled together for the rest of our living days. I will continue to make a mind mess of conflicting wedding ideas, venues, dresses, bridal parties, groomsmen attire, Delilah’s dress, music, food and cake choice. Pinterest is my crack as far as my whims are concerned. I’m pretty sure I need some rehab time.

Here’s to a beautiful weekend, to the blissfully happy couple and to tomorrow’s adventure.

Xoxo, L.

Sit Still

Have you ever tried to take a photograph of a nine month old child? Yes? How much of a workout is that?

Heads up, it’s a picture dump post…

I had the brilliant idea when walking back from the village. I bought Dela a bubble wand, sensory play and all that. Yeah I’m down with baby sensory. Love the stuff in fact. ‘Wouldn’t it be cute’ I thought ‘to get a picture of her with bubbles around when she’s looking up at them’.

Optimistic me.

We started in our dark and (currently) shabbily decorated living room. Dela didn’t have a huge reaction to the actual bubbles, she was more interested in the wand so kept crawling straight to me to grab it. And I’ll tell you for nowt (Yorkshire term) it’s really difficult to take a picture, blow bubbles and fend off a child with grabby hands. As you can see from this picture of the first batch (oh there were many), the backdrop is awful and the baby isn’t even paying attention to the glossy bubbles falling around her.

‘I know’ my inner monologue piped up again ‘let’s go in Dela’s room and try with a nice, bright backdrop’. Tucking the baby under arm and doing a light jog up the stairs (she finds this hilarious), pop her on the rug in her room and we are joined by the menagerie. Yep, all three cats and the demon dog followed. So we’re sat (all of us) in a white and pink room and I’m blowing bubbles and trying to keep the baby in one place and the dog and cats out of shot. And breath.

Ushered the dog back down the stairs. Cats revert to basking in the sun on the window sill. Dela wanted to be everywhere but where I plonked her. In a wise moment I though the standing fan would make a great bubble blower, I’d still have to hold the wand but it would do the blowing.

No. Just no.

The fan blew the bubbles in an upward frenzy and popped against the walls. Sigh. Still no nice photo.

Dogs pushed his nose through Dela’s bedroom door, cats sat hissing at him, Dela is chasing the cats round on her hands and knees. ‘Maybe an outfit change’ inner Lotty chimes into the chaos. The bubbles now lost in the mix.

I westle with the baby to change her outfit. For every item of clothing I took off her she made a dash for a cat. “DAT” she’s shouting them. “No Delilah sit still, let mummy just… urgh” she’s pinned India to the floor and started to ‘pat pat the cat’. I’m so pleased India is the softest kitty ever, I’m afraid any other cat would have swiped out for this treatment. Lucky, lucky Dela. I shuffle my backdrop as she’s distracted by the purry furry, grab her and set her down and start snapping.

As you can see it went really well!

She got adventurous and crawled between her wardrobe and cot, but then she got stuck so had a melt down. “Delilah will you sit still!” I felt like I was going to follow suit with the melt down front.

She gave me the run around, but apart from the ‘I got stuck’ melt down we were pretty happy. A fidget but happy all the same. Finally, finally I got a couple of okay shots. Some are a little hazy, but I liked them anyway and no bubbles in sight.

Im no photographer as you can very much see, but we got there in the end. The best bit was she crashed out for a nap as soon as I put her down. All that run around really helped.

Star cushion was from Next (last year). Rug from Ikea and Delilah’s all-in-one from George @ Asda.

Now I’m going to fall in a heap on the sofa and enjoy a glass of wine. Happy Friday Lovers.

Xoxo, L.

Success!

This morning was a boost. Those who know man and I, know our daughters namesake is the song ‘hey there Delilah’ by The Plain White T’s. I always hash tag #heytheredelilah on photos of her and today ThePlain White T’s commented and followed me on insta!! I’m so freaking happy. So much love

Meeting success!

I managed to get in all my questions and queries asked. It did help that the lady I met with was a true pro. A woman after my own heart. Organised, taking notes, friendly, listened and spoke (it’s normally one or the other). She was lovely. It was a pleasure to meet with someone so professional. I even managed to get into my work trousers (pre-preggers trousers) for my meeting. I felt great.

Man took an impromptu couple of days off, which worked out great too as he could take care of Dela when I was at my meeting. Dela had a few hours with daddy, visiting her great grandparents on his side of the family.

It’s the first time man has been alone with baby sincd September last year, and she was about 6 weeks old when that happened and as you can imagine she has developed since. So now 9 months (ish) old and first daddy daughter day. I packed her snacks and milk, knowing they’d be out over snack time and most likely over lunch because there is no regard for time and daddy is on his own watch (and only his watch).

I could lie and tell you I wasn’t nervous, but the fact of the matter was I was shitting bricks. Not because Dela would be alone with daddy, but because great grandparents like to feed great grandchildren shit, because they can be very ‘in face’ (I know because my grandparents are very much like this), because I have no control over what happens when my daughter is not in my care.

Relinquishing control is hard. I am a self confessed control freak. Despite my laid back appearance (and approach with certain things) I am 100% in control. I don’t like to rely on anyone else, and if I want something done I would rather do it myself than ask someone else. This could be seen as independence, which is something I’ve always been proud of and I suppose in a way I’m proud to be a control freak too.

I’m going to work on taking away any negative connotations of the term ‘control freak’ in my mind. That’s my goal for the rest of this week.

Being in control is nothing to frown at especially when we’re talking about your own children, your own life and the situations that you can control. I’m not (I can already hear your cogs turning) saying for one second you can control everything, but for the things you can – I say, steer away!

I digress.

After my meeting, I hot tailed it home to take the dog on a walk. He walked amazingly well for a change, and so did I. I found myself strutting. Dela enjoyed her morning with daddy. She didn’t starve, she wasn’t fed anything sugary and she was okay and full of big smiles when she came home for me.

Made a super healthy version of beef nachos using a wholemeal tortilla baked as my nacho chips. So good. Squeezed in making some healthy snacks, no bake peanut butter bars and oat and date energy balls. HEALTHY! Dela loves the energy balls too and they are literally 3 ingredients and too easy not to make.

It was a good day. In fact I would go as far as to say it was an awesome day.

Xoxo, L.

A Final Yawn

When a final yawn wins and she finally falls asleep.

We weren’t at home for bedtime; and it completely messed up our baby bedtime of 7pm. It’s now 8.30 and she’s finally dropped in her cot with her face in the pillow. When I say face in the pillow, I mean she’s lumped at the bottom of her bed. It has been a day of nap fighting, falling asleep on mummy and having her finally falling asleep for the night is a peaceful thought.

We barbequed at my brothers today. The afternoon spent soaking up some sun and good company. My neice running circles round each of us, taking time on french braids, skipping and games of tag. We love the sunshine. Here’s hoping we have a long happy summer.

We stuck super healthy with the food so that a huge bonus, and the rest of the day I’ve done shakes. Got 40 mins of workout in this morning, so I am winning today.

Happy happy Saturday.

Xoxo, L.